Coast Guard seizes two foriegn-flagged fishing vessels in Gulf of Mexico

Coast Guard 8th District NewsSOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas — Law Enforcement crews from Coast Guard Station South Padre Island intercepted two Mexican vessels fishing illegally in U.S. waters, Wednesday.

Both Mexican vessels and approximately 15,000 feet of deployed long-line gear were seized. The six crew members from both fishing vessels were turned over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.

Shortly after 9 a.m., Wednesday, a Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi HU-25 Falcon spotted the fishing vessels, known as “lanchas”, retrieving longline gear inside the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.

A Station South Padre Island law enforcement boat crew aboard a 33-foot Special Purpose Craft – Law Enforcement (SPC-LE) was launched to investigate the report. Once on scene, the Coast Guard crew spotted a lancha collecting fishing gear. The SPC-LE briefly gave chase to the lancha before the operator complied with orders to stop.

The Coast Guard crew later located a second lancha collecting long-line gear in the U.S. Exclusive Economic zone and stopped the vessel without incident. A second Coast Guard SPC-LE was dispatched to recover and confiscate the fishing gear. The crew also released over 40 live sharks back into the Gulf of Mexico.

“Coast Guard Station South Padre Island routinely interdicts lanchas fishing illegally in the U.S. EEZ, with over 30 such seizures this year,” said Lt. Joshua Sagers, Commanding Officer of Station South Padre Island. “In addition to Search and Rescue and Homeland Security, protection and management of vital living marine resources in U.S. is a primary mission of the Coast Guard.”

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